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June, 2010:

Dadapalooza Post: On Taking the Bear to the Theatre

The postcard for the wedding we attended.

As some of you may know, I’ve started up a Dad’s blog also:  http://www.dadapalooza.com.  In that blog, I’ll write specifically about being a Dad, and the pleasures and perils of that position.

As many of our Yonked readers may be interested in reading those posts also, but in interest of not duplicating content everywhere.  I’ll post a link and brief summary here when I make a post of particular relevance.  I won’t do it for every post unless I think Yonked readers might like it also.

Here’s a fine example of what I’ll do in the future (and I am doing now, even as we speak!):

Over on Dadapalooza, I wrote about our recent adventurers going to the theatre– we saw two plays this week:  Cirque du Soleil’s Banana Shpeel, and The Wedding of Berit Johnson and Ian W. Hill, two theatre friends of mine who had a wedding and made a theatre show at the same time.  The bear was well-behaved at both.  Read the post for the complete details

CSA Haul Week 3: Video Walkthrough Edition

Since S is out in Utah speaking at the EVO conference, it’s up to me to blog our CSA Haul for this week.

I thought I’d give you a little visual of the CSA grabbing itself. Stephanie rarely goes, so it’s up to me to actually grab the food every week.

When you arrive, you need to sign in to make sure you are on the list.  It’s pretty lax, but pretty much everybody knows everybody else.

Greg is the Friendly Volunteer Manager. It wouldn't be wrong to say he's a little Nutty.

Greg, the volunteer manager is usually on site.  Each CSA member has to volunteer twice at the pickup in order to fulfill their CSA Bargain.  I volunteered once already, and will do so again in September.

Ginger Agave Cashews.

During the week Greg works as a sales rep for a nut company (TierraFarm) that used to be a regular farm that needed something to do in the winter, so took to roasting nuts, and now that has become their forte.  Greg is at a lot of Farmer’s Markets during the week and weekend for them.

Greg brought in some samples today– and the Ginger Agave Cashews rocked my world.  Delicious!

So here’s the list of what we received today.

The List of What We Got Today

For those of you who prefer text, here it is in text:

1 bunch of Red Beets
1 bunch of japanese Turnips
1 bunch of Siberian Kale
1 bunch of rainbow chard
1/2 lb of sweet snap peas
1 head of broccoli
1 bunch of garlic Scapes
1 head of Lettuce (swapped for extra Chard)
1 bunch of parsley (swapped for extra Kale)

Sadly, there was no fruit today (I always feel disappointed when there’s no fruit)

Each of the vegetables are in large bins that come from the farm just like that.  You take your share from each of the bins, put it into your bag, chit chat with the volunteers (today our rabbi and her husband were the volunteers when I was there) and then you are on your way.  Here are some photos I took of the bins and their contents.

The Pictures I took today. To see the actual images, click the thumbnails to go to the Flickr page.

Today I changed the prep routine somewhat.  We had so many large greens, we don’t really have room in our fridge for all . I cut off the turnip tops and steamed the greens immediately.  I also steamed the kale immediately, and ate half for dinner.  I gave the beets (disgusting disgusting things!) to our nanny, so that she can juice them.  We still have lots and lots of chard (we still have last week’s chard), but I think if I steam that tomorrow, and just eat lots of leafy greens, we should be good.  Today’s kale I had with a balsamic truffle vinaigrette, which was pretty darned good.

Okay, that should do it for this edition of the CSA Ha-  Oh, yes, the video walk through!

Here’s a video walkthrough of the CSA, with hilarious vegetable music by Al Simmons .


Realized that we needed to start cooking up vegetables, so I pulled out the slow cooker, 3 lbs of pork loin from the freezer, and went to work.

Cut up a raft of last week’s scallions, still good, but getting very green.
Garlic scapes
1/2 cup cider vinegar
the remaining chimmichurri marinade. (about 1/8 a bottle)
6 oz more of water with the edges of the chimichurri marinade.

We’ll see what happens 6 hours from now!

What kind of sleep hole have we dug?

I’m really starting to think that we’ll never sleep well again.  From the beginning Adam and I agreed that we didn’t believe in letting Aaron “cry it out” at night – we didn’t want him to think we were abandoning him or that we didn’t care. And so for the first ten months, nearly nine of which I was breastfeeding a few times at night, Aaron slept in our bed (or in the co-sleeper bassinet attached to the bed) and we were all just fine with the night wakings (it was just part of the deal). Then at ten months we transitioned him to the crib in his room and one of us got up in the middle of the night for a nighttime bottle, after which Aaron usually went back to sleep.

At around 13-14 mos we had a couple of rough months where Adam (nearly always) had to take Aaron downstairs to rock in the stroller to get back to sleep in the middle of the night. We chalked it up to teething and growth spurts and, finally, at around 16-17 months he started sleeping through the night most nights.Yonked.com - What kind of sleep hole have we dug?

Aaron has never been a fantastic sleeper – his natural wake-up time is 5:00 am (5:30 if we’re lucky), no matter which time zone we’re in. He often resists naps; we’re now down to one 90 min-2 hr nap a day.  But some nights are worse than others.  Here’s what last night looked like:

2:15 am: I wake up to faint cries of “mommy, mommy,” which I ignore for about 15 min, hoping he’ll go back to sleep. He doesn’t.
2:30 am: I go get Aaron out of his crib, retrieve the binkys he’s thrown on the floor (he has to sleep with two – one to suck and
one to hold), and sit down with him in the glider chair in his room. He’s screaming at this point: milk, mommy, no. Milk, milk. Down, down. Stairs. Daddy. Mommmmmmmy. As if I wasn’t holding the squirming blubbery ball right on my lap. And oh yeah – he must’ve had a slight nosebleed while sleeping (his first). I yell to wake Adam up and he comes in to give me a hand with some saline nose drops and wrestling a noseblow out of the very unhappy kid.
2:30 am – 3:20 am: Adam goes back to bed – he can sleep through anything. Aaron and I wrestle in the chair, him squirming and trying to get down off the chair while screaming and me struggling to keep him on my lap. Every so often he throws the binkys on the floor in protest, and after about 5-10 minutes of leaving them there I pick them up, since I know full well he’ll never get to sleep without them. He sucks one and holds the other for a while, then starts to protest again, and in a blink they’re back on the floor. I manage to head that off at the pass a few times but he gets the throw in a bunch of times.

3:30 am: I’m desperate to pee. So I put a screaming Aaron down in his crib, with the binkys, and walk away, promising him that I’m coming back.  When I get back I realize that taking him back into the chair would be too much of a reward (and no guarantee that he’ll calm down and not squirm for another hour), so I decide to lie down on the floor next to the crib.
3:30 am – 4:10 am: The floor is hard. I’m miserable. Aaron is still screaming, occasionally jumping up and down to emphasize his point. The binkys are mainly in my hand because his mouth is wide open screaming anyway.
4:10 am: Beyond exhausted myself, I ask Aaron if he’s ready to sleep with mommy in the chair. He says yes, so I pick him up, give him the binkys and rock him. It doesn’t take much and he seems to be out.
4:25 am: I gently get up and put Aaron in the crib. He awakens the minute his head hits the mattress. Screaming ensues.
4:30 am: I give up and take Aaron into our bed.  He conks out.  Adam is snoring.  I am now wedged between the kid and the cat and wide awake.  Seems like a good time to write a blog post.

So now I’m really not sure what to do. Clearly it would be better for everyone if we all got more, and more consistent, sleep. But he’s a smart kid and I worry even more now that if we just let him cry that he’ll think we just don’t care.

I’m off to the Evo Conference this week for three nights so maybe Adam can stomach a few nights of crying which could right this ship. I certainly can’t handle it, so I think if we’re going to try it it will have to be when I’m out of the house.

Anyone have any advice for getting better sleep out of a nearly 22 month old? We’re all ears.

CSA Week 2: In which Joey gets his greens

We’re seeing a nice bounty thus far, though it’s still early in the season. I can’t remember if it was last summer or the summer before, but one year we started with a really meager share as there was too much rain in the spring and the fields were flooded. It wasn’t until the end of the summer that we really had enough food to sustain us through the week.

CSA Week 2: In which Joey gets his greens

beets, turnips, snap peas, rainbow chard, garlic scapes

This past week we managed to finish up nearly all of our share (except for a few lingering scallions) just as we were picking up the next one, which is always a goal. Adam and I find that between us we can usually eat our entire share in a week, if we’re careful about how we store it (so that nothing goes bad if we don’t get to it until the sixth or seventh day) and if we’re not traveling. Aaron is helping a bit this summer, but arugula and garlic scapes are not yet his thing.

This week’s haul included:
1 bunch red beets
1 bunch Japanese Hakurei turnips
1 bunch rainbow chard
1 bunch garlic scapes
3/4 lb sweet snap peas
1 lettuce head
1/2 lb arugula
1/2 lb spinach
1 basket strawberries (this week’s are tiny and totally wild-tasting, absolutely perfect)

CSA Week 2: In which Joey gets his greens

spinach, arugula, lettuce, strawberries

I absolutely LOVE beets, but Adam can’t stand the sight, smell or taste of them, so it’s amazing that he actually picked them up in our share. We do have the option to trade items out for other things if we don’t like or need them, so I’ll sometimes hear after the fact that there were beets, but they never managed to make it to our house. I’ll probably roast these with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt – simple and yummy.

CSA Week 2: In which Joey gets his greensWe haven’t cooked much yet so no recipe this week. Instead I’ll leave you with pics of the fourth member of our household who is thrilled that CSA season has begun – Joey the cat. Joey loves greens, particularly lettuce and herbs, and when CSA bags sit on the counter, overflowing with leafy greens, he not only comes around to beg but stretches up to try and pull the bags down off the counter (he’s a long cat). Last night he nearly bit my finger off to snatch a piece of arugula. We give him a little leaf or two every day; he’s a very happy cat cat during CSA season.

CSA Week 2: In which Joey gets his greens

Second summer

I can hardly believe we’re starting Aaron’s second summer. As I sat yesterday watching Adam push him on the swings in the playground, it seems nearly inconceivable that a year ago Aaron wasn’t even walking, and now the playground (“paawk”) is a major fixture in our lives.

Aaron is such an outdoors boy; maybe that’s true of many kids, or many boys, but he sure didn’t get that desire from us, the indoor geeks. And his skin is so fair (and his parents have both had skin cancers removed), so now I live in high anxiety as I worry daily about his sun exposure, whether the nanny used the sunscreen (and liberally enough), where his hat is.

He always seeks out the big kids at the park as well as the bigger play structures, though gets a bit intimidated when thinking about going down the bigger slides. He also hates to have sand or dirt in his shoes, and god forbid he’d be barefoot in the sandbox – in that regard he’s exactly like his mom.

Here’s a video of Aaron going backwards up a slide for the first time.  He tried a bunch of times before he made it.

CSA: First haul of the season!

Today was the first day of our CSA!  We were told by the farmer that it could start this week or next, but due to the plentiful rain and nice weather, this week was it.

I’m really excited to “liveblog” our CSA experience this summer.  And though haul posts are typically video, I plan to stick to written posts plus photos, at least for now.

June 10, 2010 CSA Haul

Yonked.com - CSA: First haul (share) of the season!

Everything fit into one bag this week (though a little smooshed)

1 bunch Japanese turnips
3/4 lbs sweet peas
1 bunch scallions
1/2 lb arugula
1/2 lb lettuce mix
1 bunch rainbow chard
1 quart strawberries

Note on the strawberries that we buy the fruit share as well as the veggie share – likely more on that in a future post.

Each week when we get the share home I try to figure out how to best store everything so it will last as long as possible.  Our friend Marni calls this “processing,” and it can involve cutting things up, putting things in plastic ware or special veggie storage bags, or sometimes steaming things immediately for use later.  It’s best to process on Thursday nights, but there are plenty of weeks when processing doesn’t happen until Friday, which is risky; if Adam smashed the arugula into a bag and I don’t get to unpacking everything until Friday, half the arugula could be inedible by Friday.  Today’s processing was mainly just cutting the tops off of the Japanese turnips (we don’t like the tops; I know some people will consider this wasteful) and putting everything into the veggie bins in the fridge (I haven’t dug out the veggie bags yet).

Yonked.com - CSA: First haul (share) of the season!

Scallions, Japanese turnips, spring peas, rainbow chard

Yonked.com - CSA: First haul (share) of the season!

Mixed lettuce, arugula, strawberries

So what are we planning this week?

Tonight’s dinner

We don’t always make a meal from our share immediately on Thursday nights, but since we just got back from a vacation we have very little other food in the house, tonight’s dinner will be primarily CSA veggies.  It would be great to add a hunk of nice cheese and some crusty bread to this….oh well.

  • Quinoa, spring peas and garbanzos (recipe below)
  • Steamed rainbow chard with balsamic vinegar and olive oil (one bunch of chard is one meal for me and Adam, we both love it and it cooks down to nothing)

Later in the week (note that our CSA week begins Thursdays, so for these posts the week will be Thursday-Wednesday)

  • Braised Japanese turnips
  • Something else with the remaining spring peas (maybe a yogurt-based soup)
  • Salad! and more salad! with the lettuce and arugula and probably scallions and turnips too

Aaron will singlehandedly eat all the strawberries.  He loves berries and started saying “stawberry, stawberry” as soon as he saw them sitting on the counter.

Recipe: Quinoa with Spring Peas, Garbanzos and Scallions

Yonked.com - CSA: First haul (share) of the season!

Quinoa with spring peas, garbanzos and scallions

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cu veggie stock
  • 6 oz spring peas, strings removed
  • 4 scallions
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzos, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cu apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cu lemon-flavored olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine quinoa and water in saucepan with a bit of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover. Simmer 15-20 min or until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender.

Lightly steam spring peas (we use the microwave for steaming, more on that in a future post). Slice on the bias into small pieces.  Slice the scallions.

Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to make dressing.

Combine quinoa/veggies in a bowl.  Toss together with the dressing.

Serve lukewarm (if you combine everything and eat it immediately) or cold.

Makes 4 servings as a quasi-main dish, or 6-8 servings as a side salad.

Creating the logo for Yonkers.

There’s a very interesting arts contest going on right now at   http://www.citid.net/

They are asking graphic designers to create a logo for their city, that captures the vibe of that city.  It’s for a future book and exhibition.

Not being a graphic designer, I decided to come up with one anyway.  My idea is that Yonkers is at the top of the Big Apple, and leads into it.  I then thought about the Half Moon, and decided to have the Half Moon land at the crux of Yonkers and the Big Apple (which it did back in 1609)

Here it is.

Yonkers, New York Logo by Adam G. Gertsacov

You also had to come up with a much smaller thumbnail, which I did.

Thumbnail for Yonkers Logo by Adam G. Gertsacov

I actually like the thumbnail better than the logo.  I think it’s got more artistic promise than the logo I created.  It’s less literal, and thus promises more.  Nevertheless, I submitted the original.  I might go back and create a larger version of the thumbnail, and submit that as the final piece instead (and perhaps with a third image in the blue)

I encourage all Yonkers artists to participate in this project.  It would be fun to see what you all come up with!

Our CSA haul – a new weekly series beginning soon

One of my recent resolutions is to blog more frequently here at Yonked.com.  I’ve been blogging three or four times a week at StephanieSchwab.com, and I’m finding that now that I’m writing regularly it seems easier to commit to more frequent posts here as well.  So I’m planning on a weekly series of posts about our CSA haul – that is, the weekly bounty that we receive from our Community Supported Agriculture program.  I plan to share photos and links to recipes and perhaps original recipes as well. Our CSA will make its first delivery either next week or the week after, depending on the first harvest; my posts will start as soon as the season starts.

But first, a few words about our CSA experience.  We’ve been members of our current CSA, Hawthorne Valley Farm, for three years now, and CSA members for five years total.  Adam and I are big fans of the CSA concept for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Cutting down on the grocery shopping, as we always have fresh food in the house,
  • Lower costs for local, organic fruits and veggies,
  • The excitement of not knowing what we’re going to get week-to-week, and the fun of figuring out what to do with it,
  • And, of course, that everything is so yummy!  It’s fresh as fresh can get, given that we live in an urban jungle and not on the farm.
Our CSA haul - a new weekly series coming soon

img credit: Hawthorne Valley Farms

We pick up weekly in Riverdale, which is about 10 minutes from us, and the CSA pickup point is conveniently located next to a great playground, so Aaron will be pretty happy with that.  Our share entitles us to whatever the farm has available in the weeks from mid-June until late October.  There are some weeks we don’t get much, and lots of weeks when we can’t possibly eat everything we get and we freeze stuff or share it with friends.  When we’re out of town we ask friends to pick up and eat our share.

Over the years we’ve had our share (no pun intended) of disappointments – the CSA we joined our first year (which was also their first year) only gave us a single radish and a single cucumber for weeks on end, and last year a huge rain wiped out many crops and we had a pretty sparse midsummer.  But we’ve also been exposed to new veggies (garlic scapes, anyone?), had a sorcerers’ apprentice experience with corn one year (it just wouldn’t stop coming!), and had some really funny adventures with our CSA haul.

Please tune in next week or the week after to hear about our first delivery.  I look forward to sharing with you!